Featured Films


The Power of Words - Summoning up the Absentees by Michael Rosen

This poem was commissioned by Helen Weinstein, Director of Historyworks. Michael Rosen and Helen Weinstein and her team at Historyworks are working with a wide range of primary and secondary schools to engage young people with the atrocities of the past and to recall missing people in their own words, writing poetry and narratives and songs for this year's theme of this year's HMD which is 'The Power of Words'.


Michael Rosen's Cambridge Railway Excursions Poem

The poet, Michael Rosen, is collaborating on the Rhythm, Rhyme & Railways project with Historyworks, and will be returning to lead workshops for schools and lyric writers in the Autumn. So far, he has written a poem or chant based on two posters from the Victorian period offering day excursions from Cambridge, one to London, and the other to the seaside, ending with the emphatic request, no luggage allowed! To see Michael Rosen perform the poem and read the words, view our film here:

CAMBRIDGE EXCURSION to LONDON AND BACK CELEBRATING TWO GREAT DAY TRIPSARRANGED BY THE GREAT EASTERN RAILWAYIN 1868 AND 1876TAKEN FROM THE POSTERS OF THE TIME

Poem by Michael Rosen

Commissioned by HistoryWorks For ‘Creating My Cambridge’ S106 Project


Historyworks Director gives keynote at My Cambridge Marketplace at the Cambridge Junction


As I Was Going to Stourbridge Fair (Newton, Apple Pie, Prisms/Prisons) by Michael Rosen

Poem commissioned by Historyworks for the 'History Beneath Your Feet' project for history trails funded by Cambridge City Council Public Art Award. See lyrics below:

As I Was Going to Stourbridge Fair – a Monologue 
By Michael Rosen for Historyworks

A meeting with a stranger:
the stranger starts talking....

“Excuse me, sir, your apple pie looks good.
I have a knife. You seem not keen to share.
Is pie so rare you think: ‘One man, one pie,’?
Come come, what if we always thought like that?
How can you be so sure the apple’s yours?
Did it not once grow on an orchard tree
whose roots went deep into the ground below,
where water trickled in from round about?
Whose water was helping that apple grow?
Whose sun, on that apple made it ripen?
When, late summer, your apple blushed and fell
Who did that? What invisible hand 
pulled it to the ground? Not you, I think. Yet
you seem to say the pie is yours, all yours.
And now you offer me a crusty slice! 
I would say yes but now it feels as if 
I’ve begged and I always say that nothing
asked-for tastes as good as something given.
Just think: the earth doesn’t ask for apples;
we don’t ask for the sun, its heat and light
are gifts freely given; all we need do
is give thanks and make use of what’s arrived.
Perhaps I’ll have just one small piece, good sir
Mmm, yes. It’s good. Nigh on as good as one 
I had some three hundred and fifty year -
no matter! Please let me repay you fair:
a market man sold me two little things:
he called them ‘prisons’ which will capture light
But I’ve not found the light he talked about
I see no light inside the glass, rather
I see it pouring through like grains of sand.
I must leave you, it’s late, before I go,
haven’t you ever wondered why or how 
an apple always falls straight down and not
curving or flying back up in the air?
Do you think it’s why we sat so long here
without floating away, as if we were 
fallen apples lying still on the ground 
as if the ground itself had captured them?
Do you know - someone once gave me a name:
a “corpuscularianist”, he said.
Thank you again, sir, for the apple pie
Enjoy the prisons. Did I get that right?”


Coldham’s Common by Michael Rosen

TITLE: COLDHAM’S COMMON (2016)
COPYRIGHT: MICHAEL ROSEN

The years pass
and the grass grows,
the grass grows over
the years disappear...

Underground
clues are found.
Listen! And we can hear
across a hundred million years...

The sound of the sea
where now there’s a tree;
giant lizards in the sky
wide wings take them high
swooping on fish in the waves
gliding over rocks and caves
flapping and stopping
leaving their droppings
for millions of years
right here, just here.

The years pass
and the grass grows,
the grass grows over
the years disappear.

What were droppings and bone
turn to stone
deep down, day and night
silent, slow, out of sight
vast beyond measure
a secret treasure
deep in the ground
waiting to be found.

Up above people come and go
their pigs and cows moving slow
free to graze upon the ground
until a Lord puts fences round:
nowhere for the pigs and cows,
and with the people starving now
one Jack o’ the Style leads a revolt
with a hundred others they call a halt
break the fences and burst back through
with pigs and cows, their hens and ewes.

The years pass
and the grass grows,
the grass grows over
the years disappear.

One John Ball from Burnell way
beneath the grass, said there lay
some sort o’ magical stuff
the which - if ye had enough,
mixed it right, made it just so,
it’d make any plant grow
and in a matter of just a few years
thousands came and dug right here.

Very few knew that all the while
they were free to do so, ‘cos of Jack o’ the Style
very few knew that the reason why
was down to lizards in the sky
for millions of years, leaving behind
what many years later, others would find.

The years pass
and the grass grows,
the grass grows over
the years disappear
and here we are:
we stand right here.

 


Are We There Yet? Journey to Abbey Meadows - Clicking to Connectivity


living in Cambridge …


Clicking to Connectivity Pupil's Work Showcase

Children and their Teachers from Abbey Meadows School have been working with Historyworks to co-create poems, songs and more for this new technology pilot which will be extended from the Market Place all the way back to Abbey Meadows as a 'scavenger trail' later on in the project. 

Watch this video showcasing the work produced during the 'Clicking to Connectivity' Project. 


Co-Created Film called 'Journey from Abbey Meadows'

This film was co-created with the team at Historyworks led by Helen Weinstein working with young people at Abbey Meadows who devised and voiced all the words to accompany this tour of their area.  The film work involved 180 young people in total, and a variety of media were employed including the recording of audio performances and stills of the area and the young people were recorded.

All the history and art works have been co-created with the team at Historyworks with inspirational sessions organized by Historyworks starring the rap artist, Inja Hue, and the singing teacher, Mario Satchwell, and the primary education advisor, Tizzy Faller.

Film and Photography and Audio have been captured by all team members, but especially by Helen Weinstein, Jon Calver, and Ross Casswell. Much of the historical research would not have been completed without the excellent resources at the Cambridgeshire Collection at the City Library and the team work from the Doctoral Training Programme at the University of Cambridge, whose students are rising to the challenge of learning how to translate their research skills for mass audiences.

The aim of the project is to allow a new method of place-making, by sharing historical stories specific to an area, and to inspire a visceral connection to these locations by supporting young people to co-create artworks in film and sound, words and voices which are then edited into soundfiles and films which can be coded for the public to enjoy and 'bump into' public art and local history as an ibeacon trail. We hope you enjoy the experiment!


Creative Workshops at Abbey Meadows School with Inja


Michael Rosen on Fitz Lion Poem

MICHAEL ROSEN SAYS HOW HE FOUND THE IDEAS FOR HIS POEM ABOUT THE FITZ LIONS AND PERFORMS HIS POEM CALLED THE LISTENING LIONS


Using History to inspire creativity

MICHAEL ROSEN ADVOCATES USING HISTORY TO INSPIRE CREATIVITY


Performing the listening lions

EMILY LANE SUGGESTS HOW A CLASS MAY PERFORM MICHAEL ROSEN'S THE LISTENING LIONS:


Tips on writing a joke or rhyme

HENRI WARD FROM CBBC'S HORRIBLE HISTORIES GIVES TOP TIPS ON WRITING A JOKE OR RHYME:


Using drama to engage children in the past

MATTHEW WARD FROM HISTORY NEEDS ADVOCATES USING DRAMA TO ENGAGE CHILDREN IN THE PAST


How to compose lines of a song

KIRSTY MARTIN SHOWS HOW TO COMPOSE LINES OF A SONG:


How to write a funny song

DAVE COHEN FROM CBBC'S HORRIBLE HISTORIES SHOWS HOW TO WRITE A FUNNY SONG:

 


How to compose using Body Percussion to accompany the Lion Poem & Lion Songs

MARIO SATCHWELL AND TIZZY FALLER SHOW HOW TO PUT BODY PERCUSSION TO MICHAEL ROSEN'S THE LISTENING LIONS 

Featured Films

 

On this page ...

In this section